Real Estate Survival Guide: Buyer's Checklist
Refer to this 10-step checklist to get you through the homebuying process.
1. Figure out how much house you can afford.
- Calculate your monthly income and debt.
- Check your credit report and FICO score.
- Use FrontDoor's mortgage calculator.
- Figure out your down payment.
2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage.
- Choose a type of mortgage.
- Speak to at least five lenders and mortgage brokers.
- Shop for the best interest rates and programs.
3. Determine what you want and need in a home.
- Choose a location (downtown, urban, suburban, rural).
- Choose a type (single family, townhouse, condo, loft).
- Choose a price range.
- Choose a size.
- Choose an architectural style.
4. Research your target neighborhoods.
- Look online for information on schools, crime rate, traffic and zoning.
- Determine your work commute.
- Scout local amenities, such as parks, shops and restaurants.
5. Work with a buyer's agent who knows the neighborhood.
- Get referrals.
- Consider working with an exclusive buyer's agent.
- Interview at least three agents.
- Look for experience and good chemistry.
6. Search for homes in the MLS and For Sale By Owner (FSBO).
- Browse listings online, including FrontDoor.com.
- Ask your agent to set up tours of homes that fit your criteria.
- Check local newspapers.
- Pick up flyers and attend open houses.
7. Research each home you want to buy.
- Ask your agent for comps to estimate the property's fair market value.
- Ask the seller's reason for selling.
- Review all property disclosures.
- Find out about liens, easements or other restrictions.
8. Make an offer and negotiate.
- Determine the purchase price.
- Include contingencies, such as financial, inspection or purchase.
- Spell out any special requests and repairs you want included in the sale.
- Determine an earnest money amount.
- Define a move-in date.
- Once both parties agree to the terms, sign the Purchase and Sale Agreement.
9. Finalize the deal.
- Get the house appraised.
- Get a professional home inspection.
- Consider getting specific inspections for structural engineering, roof and termites.
- Use the appraisal and inspection reports to re-negotiate if necessary.
- Choose a home insurance company.
- Complete the loan process with the lender.
- Do a walk-through inspection prior to closing.
- Set aside cash for the closing costs and down payment.
10. Close the purchase.
- Review the settlement document at least 2 days before closing to see how funds will be collected and distributed.
- Get a cashier's check for the amount you need to bring to closing, including the down payment and closing costs.
Refer to this 10-step checklist to get you through the home-selling process.
Buying a space for your student could turn out to be a great investment.
From the search for the perfect luxury home to financial planning, get tips on high-end real estate.
Master these dos and don'ts of house hunting.
You may be financially "exhausted" from saving for your home purchase, but now's actually a great time to keep saving.
If you can postpone your move, you could save some major cash.
From property taxes to utilities, the costs of owning a home adds up quickly. Here's how to calculate how much you can afford in monthly mortgage payments.
Learn about the various steps in the foreclosure process and ways you can avoid losing your home.
How to get a short sale when you're facing foreclosure on a house.
Impress buyers with money-saving and eco-friendly features.